Archive for January, 2020

News from Nigeria

You will know, of course, that we have hoped to increase SCWA’s influence in Nigeria for some time. So we are delighted that focus groups have begun in Eket and Oron, to research the local roots, realities and responses to witchcraft accusations against children. This is essential in order to ensure that we understand the local context and are well placed to recommend appropriate and targeted responses.

Delegates from the Storychangers
training event in Eket, Nigeria.

Unfortunately, we have experienced a setback in our plans for a Round Table Action Forum and for ‘Heart of the Matter’ training in Calabar. The UK Foreign Office has designated Akwa Ibom and Cross River States (in which Eket and Calabar are situated) ‘red zones’ because of hijackings and abductions in those areas. This has made it impossible for Susie and Carolyn to secure travel insurance, which means they will be unable to travel to Nigeria in the Spring. However, Maimouna Obot (Storychangers) is still able to travel to Nigeria because the German government has not imposed the same restrictions. Maimouna will therefore carry out ‘Heart of the Matter’ trainings in Eket and Oron, and we are deferring the Forum and Calabar Heart of the Matter training until the Foreign Office’s ‘no travel’ recommendation is lifted.

Please pray that the focus groups will yield valuable insights into child witch accusations in Nigeria. Pray for Maimouna, too, as she delivers the Heart of the Matter trainings in Eket and Oron. And let’s pray that it will be possible to hold the Forum and Calabar Heart of the Matter training soon.


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A prayer for 2020

‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessèd God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.’ (Methodist Worship Book, 1999, page 290)

Methodist churches hold an annual Covenant Service – a reaffirmation of faith and commitment to God’s service. Many churches do this at the start of the new year. The Covenant Prayer, written by John Wesley and adapted by generations of Methodists since, forms the centrepiece of that service. It’s the simplicity of the prayer that first strikes you. There’s no elaborate language or spiritual grandstanding, just a sense of straightforward but heartfelt commitment to God. If anything, the prayer feels more meaningful for being so understated.

A lot of people start the new year with great ambitions for the next twelve months – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but we know from experience that there’s no telling where God and circumstances will take us. We are still excited about the possibilities of what God might do through us, but we’re choosing to start 2020 by surrendering ourselves to him and his purposes. We’re obviously not all Methodists, but we think their Covenant Prayer is a perfect way of doing that. So let’s pray this prayer together. Let’s start the year by dedicating ourselves to God and look to see his guiding hand in our work, our relationships and our churches.

We aim to carry the same sense of submission to God into the rest of the year. We’d love it if you would join us in that, by praying regularly for us and our partners. Find out more about how to pray for BCT.


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